Breast Cancer Awareness


According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women aside from skin cancers. The average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer is about 12%, or 1 in 8.

Risk factors for breast cancer that cannot be controlled include:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Family health history
  • Personal health history
  • Inherited gene mutations
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Some benign breast conditions
  • Starting menstrual periods early
  • Going through menopause after 55

Some lifestyle risk factors may also be associated with breast cancer, including:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not being physically active
  • Not having children
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Using hormonal birth control
  • Post-menopausal hormone therapy

Tobacco use and exposure to certain chemicals, while linked to other health problems, are still being researched regarding a link to breast cancer.

While breast cancer cannot be prevented, there are steps that women can take to possibly lower their risk of developing breast cancer, such as maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity and limiting alcohol use. Women who have an increased risk of developing breast cancer may benefit from genetic testing and counseling.

Because breast cancer cannot be prevented entirely, early detection is one of the most important strategies for favorable outcomes. Discuss your risk of breast cancer and when you should begin routine screening mammograms with your doctor.

If you are due for your annual mammogram, Mercer Health is pleased to offer a new, more innovative, more accurate, Genius™ 3D Mammography™ Exam. Greater accuracy means better detection and a reduced chance of being called back for additional screenings. Physician referral is required; talk to your doctor about whether a 3D mammogram is right for you at your next appointment.

Information adapted from American Cancer Society.